Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Movie Review: Stuber (R – 93 minutes)

The ‘buddy cop’ sub-genre of 80s and 90s action movies found a way to incorporate comedy into a action flick.  There are countless examples of this like Tango and Cash, and 48 Hours.  I was always partial to Showdown in Little Tokyo. 

In either case, you take two folks who are nearly complete opposites and throw them together to solve a crime.  The standard format is that these two opposites each establish their skill, make some progress, suffer a loss while fighting with each other and swearing they’ll never work together again, but then come together for the final battle and forge a friendship of sorts. It’s tested and true and it works. It works especially well if you have two actors who enjoy each other’s company and can play off one another in swift comedic beats. 

Stuber feels like a throwback to those movies.  Police officer Vic Manning is chasing down drug dealer Tedjo when his partner gets killed in the line of duty and he gets injured.  He swears he will get Tedjo.  He then has lasik surgery and gets a lead while recovering.  Because his eyes are injured, he gets an Uber to take him to his investigation, leading for an unlikely partnership with his Uber driver, Stu, as they follow leads, fight, work together, go to Vic’s daughter’s art opening, and tell off Stu’s boss at his day job.

Director Michael Dowse has mainly done TV but also directed the movie Goon and Take Me Home Tonight.  This story is formulaic, and nothing you haven’t seen before – it’s sort of a comedic Collateral.  What elevates this one is the cast and how well they do with the roles they are given.
  • Dave Bautista plays Vic Manning and is perfection as the almost over the hill, broken, and exceptionally bitter cop who is out for revenge for the death of his partner.  Dave is adding to his skillset, and this action comedy is the perfect showcase for him.

  • Kumail Nanjiani plays Stu, a guy who is a bit of a doormat while working in a sporting goods store and driving Uber to help his platonic female friend (that he’s in love with) open her spin-gym.  Kumail is one of the funniest dude’s working, and he gives Stu such a sad sack existence that it is pure joy when he finally steps up to the plate.

  • Natalie Morales plays Vic’s daughter Nicole and her dry sarcasm is perfect here as someone who wants her father to be there, but knows he probably won’t show up…because work.

  • Mira Sorvino was a huge surprise for me here playing McHenry, Vic’s boss. She’s great in this in what could have been a throwaway role, but she gives it some layers.
  • Iko Uwais continues to slowly take over everything by playing Okay Tedjo. He’s got great screen presence even when saying nothing, and of course his fight scenes are epic.

  • Betty Gilpin plays Stu’s ‘friend’ Becca who is really taking advantage of him even without realizing it.
  • Karen Gillan shows up very briefly as Vic’s partner who does not make it through the beginning in order to set up his vengeance for the rest of the movie.
  • Jimmy Tatro plays Stu’s boss, and he’s basically every typically terrible dude you know rolled into one.

Overall, the movie is short, fun, and action packed.  The stars seem to genuinely get along and play really well off one another. It’s more violent and swear-y than necessary, but again, that feels like a throwback to the 80s buddy action movies I loved.  I really hope we get a sequel.

8 out of 10 – very enjoyable, also – let’s be real that a big-time summer action comedy opening with two Asian leads is huge.  I can’t wait until we get to the point where it’s no big deal because it happens all the time. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG13 – 129 minutes)

This movie functions as the first MCU follow-up to the very much ‘end’ feeling of Avengers Endgame. And how does it do? Well, if you think about all the existing MCU movies as if they were one MCU movie, then this movie feels a little like the humorous post-credits sequence.
It picks up a few months after the events of Endgame.  Folks are all attempting to recover from the snap and the resulting ‘blip’ where certain folks were gone for five years and then suddenly blipped back.  At Peter Parker’s high school, he and most of his classmates that we met in the first movie blipped out and are now back, picking up school where they left.  Other classmates that were five years behind them are now in their grade. This includes Brad – a guy who is now all charming and handsome but was a tiny child when they left.

Peter is feeling overwhelmed because he’s trying to live up to the legacy left behind by Tony Stark. Everyone seems to keep pushing him to be the “next Iron Man” when he’s just trying to be the best friendly neighborhood spider-man he can.  He is heading out on a class trip through Europe and is bound and determined not to bring his spidey-suit, hoping to just have a vacation.  However, as soon as they get to Venice, a giant water monster attacks, Nick Fury shows up to hijack the vacation and give him a mission, and Spidey meets Mysterio.  Quentin Beck claims to be a man from another universe chasing these ‘elemental’ monsters and hoping to save our world from the destruction his suffered.  Now, if you are familiar with Mysterio at all from any of the animated series or from the comics, that description confused you, but have patience.

Director Jon Watts, who also did Spider-Man Homecoming, keeps the same tone here.  He explains Peter’s general feeling of not-being-good-enough through interactions with others and exposition.  The comedy is fast and funny. The action is wonderful, and while giant and mostly CG, works really well in the context of the movie. The interaction between the cast is fantastic, and they definitely feel like classmates.
  • Tom Holland continues to be the best Spider-Man we have had to date. He’s earnest in how much he wants to help, but also just be a kid on a trip with the girl he likes. He’s just so perfect in the role and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here

  • Zendaya plays M.J., who still does not refer to Peter as ‘tiger’ at any point – maybe the next one?   Her take on the character is interesting, sarcastic, and overall very entertaining.

  • Jacob Batalon plays Ned, Peter’s guy-in-the-chair.  He’s there to be the best friend, comic relief, and emotional counsel and does all of it with charm and grace.

  • Angourie Rice place Betty Brant who does the reporting for the school TV channel?  She also begins and ends a whirlwind romance with Ned while on vacation.
  • Tony Revolori plays Flash Thompson with the perfect level of adoration of Spider-Man and simultaneous hate of Peter Parker. He’s fantastic at this role and I love him in it.

  • Remy Hill plays Brad who is suddenly in class with all these folks. He provides some great comedy.
  • Martin Starr plays Mr. Harrington and J.B. Smoove plays Mr. Dell, the two adult chaperones on the trip with the kids. They are basically there to provide even more comedy relief, as neither of them seems to be all that great at chaperoning.  I feel like there are piles and piles of outtakes of the two of them riffing and I want to see them!

  • Marisa Tomei plays May (she’s dropped the aunt for this younger Peter).  What I enjoyed most is that this version is working at a homeless shelter, feeling like a tie-in from the PS4 Spider-Man game. She’s mainly concerned about protecting Peter, but also with making sure Spider-Man is ready to help anywhere at any time.

  • Jon Favreau plays Happy Hogan who may or may not be starting a relationship with May. He’s still struggling with how to deal with the loss of his best friend and keeping tabs on the kid Stark chose to mentor.

  • Cobie Smulders plays agent Maria Hill who is on assignment with Fury throughout Europe.
  • Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury who seems to be a bit more sassy then he has been in the past. Of course, he’s missing five years, and he’s not at all happy about that.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal plays Quentin Beck or Mysterio.  He’s perfect for this role as Stark-surrogate when Peter first meets him.  

Overall, the movie is super fun with great action. It’s smaller than Endgame, but it is supposed to be. If you liked Spider-Man Homecoming, you will definitely enjoy this one.  
9 out of 10 – so fun, so wonderful, also – love that returning cameo at the end.

I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one. I used to want a D'onofrio Kingpin appearance, but his Kingpin is pretty R rated for this very PG13 Spider-Man.  But, we could still get a Sinister Six!